Can My Child Be Safe on a Vegetarian Diet?

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by Sue Brumba, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. Sue Brumba

    Sue Brumba Guest

    Can My Child Be Safe on a Vegetarian Diet?

    If you are a vegetarian parent you have probably considered putting your
    child on a vegetarian diet. Not only would it save you time and make meal
    planning easier, but for dietary reasons or ethical reasons you may
    believe it is the best choice for your child.

    Conversely, you may not be a vegetarian but you may have a child who is at
    a vegetarian phase where he or she is rejecting meat but doesn't eat
    enough healthy foods to compensate for the nutritional gap.

    Whatever the case may be, you may be wondering if a vegetarian diet is a
    sustainable, healthy choice for your child. Or, perhaps you have heard
    that a vegetarian diet could potentially stunt the growth of your child.

    These concerns probably prevented you from putting your child on a
    vegetarian diet up to this point.

    You should be aware that these concerns are in-fact legitimate issues and
    that if a vegetarian diet is poorly planned, it can cause serious long
    term and short term deficiencies especially in children who do not have
    sufficient stores of vitamins and minerals in their bodies as yet.

    If you have not done sufficient research and are not well-prepared for the
    task of putting your child on a vegetarian diet, then you probably should
    not. However, if you've done your research and are aware of the kind of
    nutrients that vegetarian diets lack, then you know that these problems
    can easily be over-come with some meal planning.

    You will probably be aware that putting your child on a vegetarian diet
    can greatly improve his or her health and limit the exposure to animal
    products that are often linked to hormones and preservatives.

    To begin your child on a vegetarian diet you should make sure that you
    your meal-planning ensures enough of the following elements that
    vegetarian diets lack:

    1) Protein - make sure that your child is getting enough protein from
    additional sources such as nuts and soybeans.

    2) Calcium - ensure that your child is getting enough calcium in his diet
    by including lots of green leafy vegetables to his diet.

    3) Iron - add more iron to your child's diet by increasing beans,
    soybeans, tofu and cereals.

    4) Zinc - enhance your child's Zinc intake by increasing, nuts, peanut
    butter, and mushrooms.

    If you concentrate on compensating for all of these common deficiencies
    that vegetarian diets lack, then, you can absolutely put your child on a
    vegetarian diet without any negative consequences.

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